Recent weeks have seen homes across Britain become a battleground, with young family members spending all evening and weekends playing the hottest game across all platforms; an adaptation of hit US TV series ‘The Wire’. This release has captured imaginations worldwide, and led to a 300% rise in cases of ‘gamer’s thumb’. The 3-D entertainment experience allows players to enter the world of Baltimore’s crime-ridden streets, its corrupt police department and ever-present drug trade, inhabiting characters from the multi-stranded ‘greatest television series ever made’. These include king of the projects Avon Barksdale, turquoise-pyjama wearing homosexual Omar, and Chief Inspector Rawls who stands accused of ‘juking the stats’ by City Hall. But the lack of an internal moral framework has led to the game only being nominally granted an 18-certificate, as if this makes any difference to the generation of pre-pubescents that are desperate to get hold of it. This situation is troubling some of Britain’s noisiest moral guardians and self-appointed protectors of the “The glamorising of criminals and what I believe is known as ‘the corner life’ sends absolutely the wrong message to the youth of today.” Tory MP Turby Willikins recently
told parliament, referring to ‘The Wire’ in quotation marks since he’s never actually seen the programme, let
alone played the game. “Our country has a huge problem with urban males fronting and gangbanging and
accusing each other of ‘disrespect’, particularly in my south Surrey constituency. This disgraceful piece
of so-called entertainment should be banned altogether. The most affluent of parents will listen to me,
I’m their connection with the streets.”
But on the flip-side broadsheet liberals have queued up to defend the game’s creators against such charges, applauding scenarios that incorporate flawed heroes and villains who nevertheless contain the possibility for redemption, even while refusing to accept simplistic notions of right and wrong. In turn parents’ groups have hit back, citing the sequence where the player drives Cop Jimmy McNulty home when he’s drunk out of his mind, or the strand wherein enforcer ‘Snoop’ has to ‘drop’ as many bodies as she can for drug-lord Marlo Stanfield, as evidence of the warping power these narratives have on impressionable minds.
“This work is disgraceful and we’re extremely disgusted by the sustained and casual sadism.” Head of Parents Against Very Irresponsibly Nasty Games Hildy Spore told Home Defence. “Our children shouldn’t be exposed to visuals that diminish their sensitivity to real world violence. Everyone knows children are born virtuous and pure, with not a negative thought in the whole of their pretty little heads. Then corrupting influences like this come along, and all of a sudden kids start asking awkward questions, getting hold of guns and torturing small animals to death. I know, it happened to my Alastair. That’s why our organisation can’t rest until this product is taken off the shelves. Our members have a lot of time on their hands, and we will explore every avenue to prevent the youth of today enjoying themselves. Indeed, we’ve just recruited Mr. Vaz to our
During a recent government session said MP, renowned busybody Keith Vaz (right), managed to persuade the
house to condemn ‘The Wire’ and several other forthcoming video games he had heard about third-hand, citing a
rise in anti-social behaviour across the UK, as well as quoting the bereaved parents who blame ‘Manhunt 2’ for
the death of their son.
Yet with the games industry worth billions of dollars worldwide, and a hundred thousand copies of ‘The Wire’
already sold in Britain, is it too late for the kids to be saved? We spoke to the editor of ‘Obsessive Gamer’
magazine, Rigobert Hugnut:
“This is one groundbreaking piece of software, both in terms of playability and horribly violent graphics.” He told us. “But it’s the stories lurking behind the playing experience that truly gives ‘The Wire’ its edge. There’s nothing more moving than spending weeks building up a virtual drugs empire from scratch on Baltimore’s East side, only to have your most trusted lieutenant suddenly turn rat. Then you have to order a ‘hit’ on the man who used to be your best friend, and that goes wrong so you’re left to die alone in a burned-out warehouse. That’s some seriously powerful shit, right there.”
“Besides,” Hugnut continued. “If they ban ‘The Wire’ that’ll only mean trade in the discs is driven underground. They’d become contraband, with a section of the gaming industry pushed out onto the streets where distribution and taxation can’t be controlled.”
In the interests of research, HDUK tested the game over a number of sixteen hour sessions and can confirm that ‘The Wire’ is seriously addictive, whether you choose to play as a murderer, walling people up in abandoned tenements, or smacked-out Bubs, navigating the lawless zone of ‘Hamsterdam’ with only a trolley of white t-shirts for company. But our personal
favourite is dock worker Siggy, who has to simply try and keep his pet duck alive.
Yet our positive experience of this apparently harmless leisure activity isn’t the impression incoming Prime
Minister ‘Diddy’ David Cameron wishes to give. Indeed, all indications point to antipathy from the Conservative
Leader towards this game and others, with insiders saying Cameron has no interest in existing vicariously as
corrupt, Pastor-attacking police grunt ‘Herc’ or obese criminal bigwig ‘Proposition Joe’. In fact, on his arrival in
office, Cameron is expected to blame games like 'The Wire' for everything from Britain’s declining standards of
etiquette to the recent rise in benefit claimants.